Special Collections Department
Letters to John Martin
Manuscript Collection Number: 324
Accessioned: Purchase, 1991.
Extent: 89 items (.3 linear ft.)
Content: Letters, plays, novella, and fiction.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: April 1996 by Anita Wellner.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
Paul Bowles has also had a prominent career as a composer. He studied with both Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson, and during the 1930s and 1940s became one of the pre-eminent composers of American theater music.
In 1938, Paul Bowles married the former Jane Auer, who, under her married name, became an accomplished author. Paul and Jane Bowles spent much of their married life traveling throughout the world and in the late 1940s made Tangier, Morocco, their permanent home. Jane Bowles died in 1973, but Bowles has continued to reside in Tangier.
In addition to publishing most of the poetry written by Charles Bukowski, over the years John Martin has published the work of such writers as Diane Wakoski, Tom Clark, John Ashbery, Denise Levertov, Robert Duncan, Gertrude Stein, D. H. Lawrence, James Purdy, Joyce Carol Oates, Wyndham Lewis, Robert Creeley, William Everson, and numerous others.
John Martin has published the work of both Jane and Paul Bowles, as well as Bowles' translations of the work of Mohammed Mrabet. The works of Bowles which bear Black Sparrow Press's imprint include Scenes (1968), The Thicket of Spring: poems, 1926-1969 (1972), The Boy Who Set the Fire and Other Stories (1974), Thing Gone and Things Still Here (1977), Collected Stories, 1939-1976 (1979), Five Eyes (1979), Next to Nothing: collected poems, 1926-1977 (1981), Midnight Mass (1981), and a reprint in 1982 of the Spider's House.
Black Sparrow Press also published Bowles' translation to English of Mohammed Mrabet's Look and Move On (1976), Harmless Poisons (1976), and The Big Mirror (1977).
Sources:Miller, Jeffrey. Paul Bowles: A Descriptive Bibliography. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Black Sparrow Press, 1986.
Morrow, Bradford and Seamus Cooney. A Bibliography of the Black Sparrow Press, 1966-1978. Santa Barbara: Black Sparrow Press, 1981.
Sawyer-Lauçanno, Christopher. An Invisible Spectator: A Biography of Paul Bowles. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989.
Scope and Content Note
Dating between 1975 and 1990, Bowles' and Mrabet's letters communicate their questions and concerns about John Martin's publication of their works, as well as conveying their appreciation and enthusiasm for Martin's work. In Paul Bowles' letters are found references to his books, Points in Time, The Spider's House, Midnight Mass, Five Eyes, Collected Stories, 1939-1976, and The Boy Who Set the Fire and Other Stories. Martin's publication of Jane Bowles' letters (Out in the World: Selected Letters of Jane Bowles, 1935-1970) and her Feminine Wiles are also mentioned.
The letters of Bowles, as well as the eight letters translated and typed by Bowles for Mohammeh Mrabet, also discuss several of Mrabet's books, including Marriage with Papers, Look and Move On, The Big Mirror, and Harmless Poison, all published by Black Sparrow Press. Among the letters are photocopies of Mrabet's works Earth and Married With Papers which were sent to John Martin for his consideration.
In addition to discussing Martin's editing and publication of his books, Bowles requests copies of his books, inquires about royalty statements and payments, conveys his concerns about multiple literary agents and international publication rights, and mentions the publication in the United Kingdom of his works by Peter Owen, Limited.
Bowles' letters also contain references to his health, displeasure with Sawyer-Lauçanno's An Invisible Spectator, his problems with Larbi Layachi, Jeffrey Miller's bibliography of his work, his thoughts of Arab-American relations and the difficulties they create for him, and a variety of allusions to his daily life.
As a whole the letters serve to document the professional relationship of writer to editor, as well as the friendship shared by Paul Bowles and John Martin.
Related collections:Ms 110 Pagany Archive
Ms 163 Paul Bowles Papers
Ms 164 Paul Bowles Collection
Unprocessed Peter Owen Limited Archive
Series I. Paul Bowles Letters to John Martin, 1976-1990 F1 1976 Apr 9 TLS 1p 1977 Jul 26 TLS 1p F2 1979 Jun 12 TL 1p Note: Missing bottom of page which had corrections for Five Eyes. Jun 22 TLS 1p Jul 6 TLS 1p Aug 29 TLS 1p Sep 4 TLS 1p Sep 6 TLS 1p Sep 18 TLS 1p Sep 25 TLS 1p Sep 29 TLS 1p F3 1979 Oct 17 TLS 1p Oct 17 TLS 1p Oct 19 TLS 1p Oct 22 TLS 1p Oct 27 TLS 1p Dec 28 TLS 1p F4 1980 Feb 12 TLS 1p Feb 23 TLS 1p Mar 11 TLS 1p Mar 21 TLS 1p Apr 2 TLS 1p Apr 17 TLS 1p Apr 25 TLS 2p F5 1980 May 5 TLS 1p Note: Includes a photocopied typescript of Mrabet's "Married with Papers," which was published as Marriage With Papers. May 26 TLS 1p F6 1980 Jun 28 TNS 1p Note: Includes a photocopied typescript of Mrabet's play, Earth. F7 1980 Oct 28 TLS 1p Nov 27 TLS 1p F8 1981 Jan 7 TLS 1p May 7 TLS 1p Jul 2 TLS 1p July 8 TLS 1p Oct 13 TLS 1p Nov 22 TLS 1p Series I. Bowles Letters to Martin (cont'd) F9 1982 Jan 15 TLS 1p Feb 4 TLS 1p May 18 TLS 1p Jun 8 TLS 1p Jun 29 TLS 1p Jul 31 TLS 1p F10 1983 Jan 3 TLS 1p Feb 4 TLS 1p Mar 2 TLS 1p F11 1984 Jan 11 TLS 1p Jan 24 TLS 1p Jan 30 TLS 1p Feb 18 TLS 2p Feb 23 TLS 1p F12 1984 Mar 9 TLS 1p Mar 13 TLS 1p Mar 20 TLS 1p Note: With copy of Bowles' revisions for a book by Larbi Layachi (17p). Mar 29 TLS 1p Note: With copy of Millicent Dillon's letter to Bowles regarding Layachi. F13 1984 May 18 TLS 1p May 31 TLS 1p Jun 14 TLS 1p Jul 9 TLS 1p Aug 5 TLS 1p Aug 22 TLS 1p Oct 18 TLS 1p F14 1985 Apr 27 TLS 1p Jun 26 TLS 1p Jul 8 TLS 1p Sep 5 TLS 1p Oct 7 TLS 1p Note: Includes a seven-line autograph note by Bowles. F15 1986 Apr 13 TLS 1p Jun 19 TLS 1p Jul 13 TLS 1p Nov 13 ALS 1p 1987 Jul 7 TLS 1p [1987 Dec 14] AN 1p Note: Written on a letter from Leavitt to Bowles. F16 1989 Jun 3 TLS 1p Dec 13 TLS 1p 1990 Jan 9 TLS 1p  Feb 25 ALS 1p Series II. Paul Bowles' Points in Time,  F17 Photocopy typescript of Bowles' Points in Time,  Includes a letter from Ned Leavitt to John Martin (1981 Aug 12), which discusses the manuscript. Series III. Mohammed Mrabet Letters to John Martin, 1975-1980 These letters were typed by Paul Bowles as he translated Mrabet's words into English. F18 1975 Aug 8 TLS 1p Sep 20 TLS 2p 1976 Jun 14 TLS 1p Aug 14 TLS 1p 1977 Jul 18 TLS 1p 1978 Oct 8 TLS 1p 1980 Mar 4 TLS 1p Apr 11 TLS 1p
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